Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Real Man

I’ve been watching Mad Men this season and loving it, of course. Loving Don Draper, of course. How could anyone not? He’s so handsome. I’ve actually wrestled a bit with my infatuation with Don because, objectively, he’s not a man I would want. He’s unfaithful. He keeps secrets. He’s dishonest. At the same time he exudes a quality that seems to have disappeared from men in the past 50 years. It’s hard to quantify, but the best I can say is that Don Draper is a real man. He is confident. He’s someone you would trust in a crisis. He’s strong. He doesn’t go whining on about his troubles. I realize it is somewhat ironic that I frown upon whining since that’s pretty much all I do on this blog. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about that. Upon closer examination, it seems I’m probably most drawn to Don Draper because all the men I’ve ever dated have been boys. Never mind they were in their 30s. They were boys. I'm not sure there are any real men anymore. Perhaps none were born after 1960 in America. I’m guessing this doesn’t apply to the UK because David Tennant seemed suspiciously like a real man when I met him in spite of his boyish good looks! I look around the Pit of Despair and I don’t see any men. I see boys who make a tremendous amount of money and pretend to be men--the Pete Campbell’s of the world.

So what exactly are the qualities of a man? As I mentioned, I think a real man is confident (without being egotistical), good in a crisis and strong (I’m talking more about emotional strength here, but a certain amount of physical strength is nice too--there is the occasional jar that needs opening after all). They also need to be able to dress themselves and have appropriate clothes for all social situations. The man who doesn’t own a suit (a suit purchased in the past few years—not some ill-fitting thing his mom bought him ten years ago for his cousin’s wedding!) and can’t tie a tie, is not a man. A real man will be at ease in a variety of social situations. A real man can fly solo--guys who cling to their pack of buddies are boys. If he drinks, he drinks something serious. Real men do not drink fruity, girly drinks. BTW, bonus points for the man who can mix a real cocktail—Jack and Coke doesn’t count--I'm talking martini, gimlet, etc. Still, while these all seem to be qualities of a real man, I think there’s also an indefinable quality, a certain je ne sais quoi, which makes a man a man. Whatever it is, Don Draper has it in spades. And I love him for it.

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